Thursday, November 12, 2009

God’s Little Leech Looks In The Mirror

How do you feel when you can’t see behind?

A while back I was driving on the freeway when my rearview mirror decided to commit suicide. In an instant, it simply jumped away from its secure and helpful position, crashed on the dash and rolled onto the floor, there to lie in state. “What in the world?!” I said. I couldn’t believe it.

Grief over the untimely and unnatural death of the mirror swept over me, and I became vividly aware of how instantly insecure I felt.

I couldn’t see behind.

Until replacing it about a week later, every time I drove somewhere I felt little security about what was before me because I had become so insecure about what was behind. I drove around always on edge and anxious, with virtually no confidence. Can you imagine it? I had to force myself to drive without a look behind, but until I replaced the mirror, I never felt right.

I get that same feeling every now and then when I practically forget all that Jesus has done for me and stop counting on it. Because it’s not front and center in my mind, I’m really not at rest. Does that make sense? It’s as if I run out in the day, joining the working and consuming and transporting masses, and am unsettled and insecure. I’m either hounded by worrisome and bothersome thoughts (“Am I doing the right thing in the right order in the right way?”), or I just force ahead and block out the thoughts. Maybe I play music really loudly in my car.

The truth is God has made me to live off Him. Call me God’s Little Leech if you like, but it’s true. Without a healthy dose of heavenly reality in my day, it won’t be long before earthly reality has me overwhelmed and worn out. In the weighty words of a friend, “It is what it is.”

Before I go forward, I have to look behind. It’s like an addiction to a cosmic rearview mirror—What’s back there?

It’s incredibly effective for me to pause long enough and to think something like, “I lost my life and the ownership of it twenty-nine years ago. God Himself now lives in me—what a wonder that is—and I will be hearing Him, seeing Him, and feeling Him throughout the day, no matter the congestion and chaos. I’m counting on it. For me to live is Christ.”

It’s like sobering-up, only better. (Okay, that just gave you in window into my past, didn’t it?) Re-connecting with God like this keeps me from doing a brilliant imitation of a bumper car at Disneyland—fun for a while, but getting nowhere.

While looking in the mirror, somehow it happens—I remember that I’m a new creation. Everything changed. When Jesus died, in Him the guy I used to be died, too. When Jesus rose from the dead, the new me did, too. And now I’m walking around in all that. (That’s Romans 6, in case you’re reaching for your Bible. The first 6 or 7 verses should do it.)

My look behind at what Jesus did for me and to me means I can go forward, knowing the truth about how to live and look at what’s ahead. And everything’s different. From then on I regard nothing and no one from a worldly viewpoint (2 Cor 5:16). Instead, I listen and look for the Spirit’s involvement with me and figure He knows about everything and everyone else. It’s then I’m led by the Spirit, which has become my new normal way to live.

Knowing what’s gone on behind me allows me to look forward with confidence because I know that now I’m really living. I need that! And it’s then I live for what’s eternally true, not for what’s temporarily before me.

In view of the past, I can see ahead—and it doesn’t look so bad from there.


  1. Mari Jackson11:20 AM

    Reading through the old testament last year I was strongly impressed with God's constant reminder to the Israelites to "remember, do not forget, what God has done". This I realized was how we build and maintain our faith; by looking back at what God has done. Great example with the rear view mirror!!

  2. Jodi Zabel Van Rhee11:22 AM

    Good stuff, Ralph!

  3. Cindi Estep11:22 AM

    Me likes very much and I am sharing, OK?